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Late News: AHRQ tool kit targets preventable readmissions

By Maureen McKinney.
Posted: March 30, 2013 - 12:01 am ET

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a revised toolkit hospitals can use to lower their rates of preventable readmissions, particularly among patients with limited English proficiency and patients from diverse backgrounds. The Re-Engineered Discharge Toolkit is based on Project RED, or Re-Engineered Discharge, a 12-step intervention developed at Boston University Medical Center, which incorporates medication reconciliation, plain-language discharge instructions, patient education and telephone follow-up to improve transitions of care and decrease the likelihood of readmissions. Project RED also features Louise, a virtual, computer-based patient advocate that provides additional patient education and self-management instructions. According to AHRQ, the toolkit can help hospitals reduce their readmissions and emergency room visits by as much as 30%. “One readmission or ED visit was prevented for every seven patients receiving the RED,” AHRQ said. “Further, the RED patients cost an average of $412 less in the 30 days following hospital discharge than patients who did not receive the RED. This represents a 33.9% lower observed cost for this group.” AHRQ provided initial funding to Boston University Medical Center researchers, and the agency also contracted with BUMC to fund the development of a scalable toolkit for use by other hospitals.

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